Makeup Dupes: College Edition

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There’s no denying it’s hard out there for a makeup addict on a college budget. That’s why I did some investigative research at the hottest shop on campus (CVS, obviously) to bring you some fabulous finds that won’t break the bank!

1. Brow Envy– Solved!


The e.l.f. Studio Eyebrow Kit Gel and Powder, Dark ($3, has become my new best friend. The double-sided brush is perfect for applying both the shaping gel and the setting powder, which together fill in brows beautifully. Who needs expensive, moderately confusing brow palettes when you can get totally satisfying results from a THREE DOLLAR dupe? Three. Dollars. That’s less than a typical Starbucks order. Sooooo… you’re welcome.

2. Lipstick Cravings

Eternal-Rose_pack-shotWe all know that pit-in-the-gut, color-frenzied, wild-eyed feeling we can’t shake no matter how hard we try: the urge to buy a new lipstick. Luckily, my trusty Maybelline New York Superstay 14HR Lipstick, ($6.29, Target) is tried and true. This is such a great everyday lipstick that comes in so many colors and shades (one of my new faves is Lasting Chestnut)– you can’t help but try ’em all.

3. Make Me Blush


One of the sometimes overlooked facets of cosmetics, but nonetheless foremost in the makeup addict’s mind, is blush. Of course, there are tempting, sparkly, siren-song-singing luxury blushes, but a good drugstore pick works just fine. I suggest Maybelline New York Fit Me Blush, Light Rose ($4.26, Target); even for my ghost-pale skin, this pigment is gentle and blendable (but totally buildable) enough to get the job done without accidentally signing me up for clown school.

4. Prime Time


Urban Decay and BareMinerals have some awesome eyeshadow primers, but if you’re between paychecks, e.l.f. Shadow Lock Eyelid Primer, ($2, ELF) is here to save the day. It stays put all day, and I will never be over e.l.f.’s unfathomable prices. I’m sorry, TWO DOLLARS? Incredible.

5. Longwear Lips

spin_prod_ec_799940701If you’re the kind of person who forgets to bring the lipstick she’s wearing with her for touch-ups, you might want a longer-wear option like Revlon Colorstay Overtime SoftFlex Lipcolor/Moisturizing Topcoat,  ($7.99, It’s got formidable staying power and comes in some really pretty colors (this one is a great amped-up-fake-natural hue)!

Just because you’re on a tight budget or stranded from Sephora doesn’t mean your beauty needs have to suffer! Your new secret weapons just got a whole lot more attainable– and I’ll never tell.

What’s your go-to drugstore dupe?

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Profile photo of Angelina Hoidra

Angelina Hoidra

Beauty Editor: A college senior in DC trying to find the balance between Whitman and Wilde and stopping at Sephora along the way.

  • TheRainStorm

    I’d go with natural beauty from a man’s point of view. Make ups are fine unless it isn’t too dashing with colors.

  • The things women do. I can understand why making up is important, and personally, light make ups are the best. Of course the absolute best is natural beauty still. :)

  • Tescha Chetty

    Wow, this seems so affordable. I recently completed my make up artistry course and I am always looking for good quality make up deals☺

  • Can’t believe that e.l.f. is only 2 dollars!!! Gotta try that one out myself instead of wasting all my money on expensive makeup :/

  • HomeJobsbyMOM

    I love these makeup choices. Especially the blush. I’d love to try that.

  • Miranda Miller

    Love the finds. I am always on a budget so I love finding good cheap finds so this post was perfect for me!!

  • Hannah Malanga

    Some good products, not just for college students. I am on a very tight budget right now whilst trying to move house so these come in handy. Thanks

  • Lawrence

    Excellent job on finding affordable products that really work. Especially for College where every dollar feels like a $20 and money is hard to come across!

  • I never buy stuff like MAC because I find that cheaper products work better on my skin and it is a fraction of the price too!

  • I love ELF products! They are affordable but work amazingly!

  • Adina Mera

    Hmmm.. might try some of these. I love dupes. What’s the point of paying more for the same thing? :) Thanks for sharing.

  • Fatima Ali

    I am thinking of buying some new make-up. Thanks for the inspiration.

  • I like these products :) and I am surprised they are not that expensive.
    My favorite is the Revlon Colorstay Overtime SoftFlex Lipcolor… Because I love to smile!

  • ratisha goyal

    Wow! Great post. Everything added in my shopping list.

  • When I worked at Target years and years ago, e.l.f. was always a top seller in our cosmetics department. Interesting that it is still around and kickin’!

  • Amy Scott

    Wow I’m amazed the e.l.f primer is that good! Top of my list now. I crease so bad in my lids! I’m also a big brow grooming fan so I think I’ll have to try that product too

  • miieloise

    Very cheap finds, indeed! Thank you for sharing! I also go to Target for cheap make-up. But my favourite one is actually a French shop called Yves Rocher. Do you know it? I sometimes ask my family to buy things and send them to me overseas!